THE words Castrol and Toyota are synonymous in the world of rallying and date back to the 1970s, but a new combination were revealed for this year's Probite British Rally Championship at The Rolls of Monmouth Golf Club recently, when Meirion Evans and Chris Ingram unveiled the first Toyota Yaris Rally 2 car to arrive in the UK to the assembled media, reports PAUL WILLETTS.

Welshman Merion has been a leading light on the Irish Tarmac Championship for many years and he will be joined by 2019 European rally champion Chris Ingram to form a formidable two-car team that will tackle the six round series.

Ingram will start the first two rounds in a Castrol-liveried VW Polo R5 as the second Yaris won't arrive until early May, such is the demand for the car.

The Toyota Yaris is the latest car to join the ever growing band of manufacturers in developing an R5 car for privateers worldwide.

As well as the iconic Castrol livery there is also a much more local angle with both cars carrying both the Stilo and Nicky Grist Motorsport decals.

Nicky is a franchise for the Stilo brand here in the UK, and needs no introduction to rally fans worldwide having sat by the likes of Colin McRae and Juha Kankunen.

But it was with the Finn that the Abergavenny co-driver's association with Toyota and Castrol began back in the mid 1990s.

And being a former captain of The Rolls of Monmouth Golf Club helped secure this beautiful venue for the launch, which is no stranger to the sound of rally cars – 40 years ago the Welsh International Rally used it in 1984 for its media day, when a very young Grist just starting out on his illustrious career was co-driving for his friend and Abergavenny businessman Steve Davies.

The team will be run by the experienced Melvyn Evans Motorsport.

The West Walian-based team are no strangers to success having twice won the British Rally Championship with both Matt Edwards and Osian Pryce, and years of success under their belts.

"It's fabulous to bring the new Yaris to the championship with its iconic Castrol colours and I'm really looking forward to this year's series, and also working with Chris. I can't wait to get started now," said Evans. 

As for the 2019 European champion, how did he view this year.

Chris Ingram flying to victory 
Photo Credit.....Paul Mitchell
Chris Ingram flying to victory. (Paul Mitchell)

"There is a huge buzz around this year's Championship especially with the new TV deal. It’s really captured people's imagination and the quality of the crews doing the championship is there for all to see.

Chris Ingram (L) and Meirion Evans will spearhead Castrol Toyota teams British championship campaign with the new Yaris Rally 2
Chris Ingram (L) and Meirion Evans will spearhead Castrol Toyota team’s British championship campaign with the new Yaris Rally 2. (Paul Mitchell)

“I'm really excited about this year and extremely grateful to Melvyn and Castrol for giving me the opportunity," said Ingram.

The Castrol MEM team had a dream start to their British Championship campaign with Chris and Alex Kiurhani taking a 27-second victory in the Castrol-liveried VW Polo R5 from William Creighton and Liam Regan in an M Sport-backed Ford Fiesta R5 in the Legend Fires North West Stage.

And Meirion Evans with Jonathan Jackson also took a superb third on the UK debut of the Toyota Yaris Rally 2, on the tough opener in changeable conditions, which made the asphalt road incredibly slippery.